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Ocean’s 8

When the contracts of actors expire at the end of a movie franchise, producers are faced with a choice. Do they end the series there and then or do they continue with a brand new cast? In the case of ‘Ocean’s 8’, they simply assemble a new cast to continue the money-making films. Based on the successful ‘Ocean’s 11’ heist movies, ‘Ocean’s 8’ offers up the same slice of comedic escapism seen previously.

The estranged sister of Danny Ocean, Debbie (Sandra Bullock), is inspired by his crooked ways. Seeing how he successfully pulled off various heists, she decides to create her own wayward gang. Amongst recruits are Lou (Cate Blanchett), Daphne (Anne Hathaway) and Nine Ball (Rihanna). Targeting the popular annual MET gala in New York, Debbie and her cohorts try every trick in the book to grab the bounty before the law catches up with them.

‘Ocean’s 8’ is exactly what you’d expect from an ‘Ocean’s’ movie and that becomes both its blessing and curse. Whilst overall its entertaining on a surface level, underneath the façade of flashy dresses, shonky make-up and jewels lies a tired script. Going through the mechanical motions as the gang forms their intricate plans, there’s never a sense of urgency or danger. Although having strong anti-heroes, they are missing a formidable antagonist to play against as ‘Ocean’s 8’ plods from one set piece to another.

For its many faults, ‘Ocean’s 8’ isn’t boring and glides at an agreeable pace. It’s just sad the writers couldn’t come up with something more original and worthy of the talents within. ‘Ocean’s 8’ feels like a discarded script for a previous ‘Ocean’s’ movie with the men simply replaced with women. A franchise re-invention needs more than that. ‘Ocean’s 8’ has a great glossy look and of the cast only Helena Bonham Carter, as one of the gang members, looks like having the most fun.

Audiences who want to watch a brain-free caper movie with no surprises, then ‘Ocean’s 8’ is for them. A lazy effort in spite of its good points, the series needs a re-think if it’s to continue. One enjoys a good heist, especially Hollywood with the allure of grabbing more dollars from viewers just as shady as the aims of ‘Ocean’s 8’ clever ladies.

Rating out of 10: 5

Hereditary

‘Hereditary’ faces an uphill battle due to its genre. A horror movie, there are those who loathe being scared. An emotion not many want to feel, being frightened has seen countless books, films and TV shows garner huge success. The genre can be a double edged sword as it only appeals to a certain paying audience instead of a general one. But ‘Hereditary’ may find more viewing scope than others due to an imaginative script shredding the nerves shortly after the cinema theatre lights dim.

Annie (Toni Collette) and her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne) live with their two children in a large house. Still mourning the death of her mother, Annie begins to notice strange occurrences. When told her mother’s grave has been desecrated setting off a chain reaction of unbridled terror. Uncovering dark familial secrets, Annie and her family are swiftly placed in peril as evil prepares to strike from the shadows.

Directed with great visual flair by Ari Aster, ‘Hereditary’ relies heavily on its look. The warped visions Annie sees go a long way in creating atmospheric dread as she uncovers clues as to what’s happening. The puzzle box of conspiracies gradually evolves into an aria of horror deceptively pulling each family member into a savage quagmire. Despite uneven performances, the engaging script and excellent cinematography ensures ‘Hereditary’ breaks out from the glut of spooky films.

As with any decent horror movie, ‘Hereditary’ takes a tangible slice of everyday life and turns it into something wicked. This dose of reality enables viewers to feel the scares of which ‘Hereditary’ has in abundance. The shocks are genuine with consistent creepy moments. Whilst a few genre clichés seep through, sparks of originality shine with a commendably daring conclusion not many will guess.

Although let down by some dodgy acting, ‘Hereditary’ makes its mark. It’s difficult being scared given the amount of similar movies that have come before. ‘Hereditary’ gives it a good go with Aster’s directorial talent one to watch as his latest provides a potential stepping stone to greater horrific heights.

Rating out of 10: 6